Who wouldn’t love Seussical? (That’s a rhetorical question)

Lindsay Adams

Mayzie Bird shakes her tail feathers in ‘Seussical.’
Mayzie Bird shakes her tail feathers in ‘Seussical.’

“Seussical” at the Coterie Theatrer takes the stories of “Horton Hears a Who” and “Horton Hatches an Egg” and weaves them together skillfully with other characters from Dr. Seuss’s works. The Cat in the Hat, probably the most famous of all the characters, functions as the erstwhile emcee, odd character and occasional prankster who helps drive the action.

Just like in the traditional tale, Horton, played by Seth Golay, hears voices coming from a speck of dust that is resting on a clover, and finds out there are tiny people, Whos, living on it. He decides to take care of it and carry it with him everywhere, as he explains in song, “A person’ s a person, no matter how small.”

All the animals in the jungle of Null laugh at him and mock him in the ensemble and jazz-heavy showstopper, “Biggest Blame Fool.” Still Horton sticks with the Whos, saying, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, an Elephant is loyal 100 percent.”

The choreography was chaotic and highly controlled. The Wickersham Brothers, who are monkeys and the villains of the show, are amazingly athletic and versatile in their physicality, laying down some serious bluesy beats in the song, “Monkey Around.” They, with the aid of the Sour Kangaroo, played by silver tongued Enjoli Gavin, steal the clover holding the whos and throw it into a clover field, where Horton can’t find it.

Then he has the misfortune of running into Mayzie Bird, played by Jennifer Mays, who talks him into watching her egg after her hysterical rendition of “How Lucky You Are,” supported by The Cat in the Hat imitating Ray Charles. Horton has various escapades while trying to take care of the Whos and the egg. He is helped by Gertrude McFuzz, played by Jennie Greenberry, a bird with only one tail feather, who is not-so-secretly in love with Horton.

The show culminates in a brilliant and cutting scene where Horton is put on trial. “It is fun and zany, but also has relevant themes of tolerance, responsibility and body image,” said Director David Ollington about “Seussical.”

Tim Scott’s portrayal of The Cat in the Hat was funny and versatile. In one scene, The Cat in the Hat is playing an auctioneer who is selling off Horton, after he is caught by poachers.

He takes bids from the kids in the audience, joking as the bids go lower rather than higher, saying, “I think the bad economy is affecting the bids, ” and as the bids continued to sink, “The public schools system is really failing us.”

The set, lighting and costumes were a colorful and inventive extravaganza and worked together to create a magical space in which the show can take place.

“The Coterie production glows with whimsy and restraint, its inventive puppetry, its simplicity, imagination and witty direction,” said Lynn Ahrens, who wrote the book and lyrics for “Seussical.”

“Seussical” is a treat for all ages. It constantly entertained with clever double entendres and hip pop culture references. For anyone who had Dr. Seuss read to them as a child, the show will bring childhood memories pouring back. The sense of nostalgia makes the show mean more, if anything to the adults who watch it. The adaption was skilled at mixing music and Seuss’s original rhymes. The show was a mix of upbeat dance numbers, poignant moments, and strong vocals. “Seussical” brings the magic of childhood alive.

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